British Columbia grows less than half of the fresh produce it needs. Much of what we consume comes from California. The ongoing drought conditions, and a weak loony, have sent vegetable prices spiralling 11.7% this year. Fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables are becoming an occasional luxury for some middle-low income B.C. families. Though this will only worsen worse as global temperatures continue to rise, the government of BC is far more preoccupied with the get-rich promise of mega-energy projects. Once it is completed, Site C will submerge prime agricultural lands.
The firing of Agricultural Land Commission Chair Richard Bullock has already been called the latest step in the BC Government’s war on agriculture. Though he was appointed by cabinet, Bullock was the head of a supposedly “independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia.” He also opposed Bill 24, which weakened protections on 90% of the province’s agricultural land reserve (ALR). There are huge issues with oil and gas underneath some of the agricultural land in the Northeast corner of BC. On April 8, cabinet overrode the ALC to remove 4,000 hectares from the Agricultural Land Reserve in the Peace River Valley, so they could be flooded if/when the Site C Dam is built. Bullock defended agricultural lands against these developments. Yesterday, the government dismissed him in a 30-second phone call.
Grace Islet’s Salvation is in sight. Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource, announced the Province is partnering with local First Nations and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to preserve the First Nations burial site. Though negotiations with the owner have not concluded, many are are celebrating a victory.
As you can see from the photo above, construction is proceeding on the house on top of Grace Islet on Salt Spring Island. This is a recognized First Nation’s burial site and it is not known how long construction will continue. The 13 municipalities in the Capital Regional Districtpassed a resolution condemning the desecration of a sacred site and requested that BC’s Archaeology Branch rescind the permit allowing construction. Salt Spring Islanders opposed to the building have started a “No House Here” campaign. Meanwhile a spokesperson from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said the protests are being directed at the wrong level of government. Continue reading No House Here→